Staunch champions of corporate governance and fair financial reporting lost a friend over the holidays with the passing of former U.S. Rep. Michael Oxley on January 1. The Ohio Republican, co-author, with Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes, of the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), was an ethical stalwart and strong advocate and warrior for corporate oversight and accounting reform.
SOX significantly impacted the modern corporate governance landscape by elevating internal control over financial reporting to a top corporate priority. For anyone who entered the professions of accounting, finance, internal auditing and consulting after 2002, SOX has always been the law of the land. But those of us who remember the scandals of the Enron era can attest to the enormous problem placed on the doorstep of Congress at the time.